In the LJ, the approach is usually 16 to 18 strides long, but it is often shortened by older athletes and may be as long as 22 to 24 strides among younger athletes. It has to be long enough to allow the body to transition from acceleration to the upright running phase and to reach maximum velocity on the last two strides. The length of the runup will change during the season. The length is affected by form, physical condition, runway condition and wind direction. In general, a headwind will require a 10 to 20 inch decrease in runup distance while a tailwind will require it to be lengthened by 7 to 15 inches.
A runup that is too long will result in the jumper reaching maximum speed before takeoff. Often this will result in loss of velocity in the last two strides. Conversely, a runup that is too short will not allow the jumper to reach maximum velocity. A increase in velocity at the board of 4 inches per second (this is comparable to going from a 14.0 100M to a 13.8) will increase the jump distance by up to 2%. Speed at the board is the most important single item in the horizontal jumps.
The jumper should have a check mark out four strides from the board. The athlete should not look for this mark during the approach, but should have someone else watch this mark and note the foot plant location relative to this mark. Corrections to the starting point should be made based on this information. Once the event has officially started, the start mark should not be changed. Make these changes during the practice runs.
On the penultimate stride, the foot must land slightly ahead of the hips to aid in the lowering of the COM. A loud foot slap at landing here indicates that some braking has occurred. This is often caused by leaning forward during the run. The tibia should be vertical at touchdown and the heel kick of the takeoff leg should be kept low.
On the takeoff step, it is again critical that the ankle be pre-tensioned and locked at 90 degrees with the foot landing slightly in front of the COM with the body erect. The start of the body rise should be after the COM has passed the board. Maximum body speed must be maintained.
At takeoff, the arms should be driven up, stopping or blocking as soon as the jumper becomes airborne.
Nothing can be done to change the flight path once the foot has left the board. Rotation is controlled by the swing leg. The swing leg hip should be brought forward with the leg extended and then allowing the foot and leg to fall. A large double arm downward sweep to the front will help to produce leg lift.
To obtain the best landing condition, the arms should be extended down and rearward with the hips fully flexed and the legs extended forward. The trunk should be leaning forward over the thighs. Extending the arms down and back will help to prevent the butt from marking the sand.
VISUAL CONTROL DURING THE APPROACH RUN
There is some published data indicating that elite jumpers do use some visual control to correct the location of the takeoff foot during the approach run. However, during the learning process, this should be avoided as much as possible. Looking at the board often causes the jumper to slow down and make un-necessary adjustments in a "stutter-step" fashion. Key element in the jump is obtaining maximum controlled speed on the final stride.
This same data indicates that the consistency of the first stride is important in obtaining accurate foot placement on the last two strides.
Any "looking at the board" should be done by quickly glancing at the board without changing the head position.
(SEE THE TRIPLE JUMP PAGE FOR ADDITIONAL DRILLS)
BOUNDING: This is a simple driving action to help strengthen the legs. The action is alternate legs as in running, making certain that the foot lands relatively flat footed in the dorsiflexed position. Single or double upward driving arm action can be used. A "set" of bounds should be from 30 to 50 meters long. This is an early to mid-season drill.
BARRIER HOPS: These are two legged hops over a barrier, concentrating on height and distance. This is a demanding drill, requiring strength, speed and coordination. Care should be taken in the selection of the barrier to ensure that it is not going to cause injury if accidentally hit during a hop.